‘Ticket Sales And Demand Have Never Been Stronger’: Q’s With The Team Of Live Nation Spain

Coldplay Concert In Barcelona
Coldplay’s Chris Martin on stage at Estadi Olimpic, May 24, 2023, during the first of four concerts at the stadium in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jordi Vidal/Redferns)

Pollstar reached out to the team of Live Nation Spain to talk about the company’s many success stories, which have led to what president and head promoter Robert Grima called “the strongest year in Live Nation Spain History.” Pino Sagliocco, chairman Live Nation Spain, Chen Castaño, managing director at Planet Events, and Barnaby Harrod, head promoter at Mercury Wheels, also shared their business perspectives.

How would you sum up the state of business for Live Nation in Spain?
Pino Sagliocco: Spectacular. There has been a magnificent return to live in Spain. People are prioritizing live music as a part of their lifestyle.

Robert Grima: The level of the business in Spain has come back this year even stronger than it was in 2019. Ticket sales and demand have never been stronger. Our sales volume is the highest ever, and I believe we are going to hit the strongest year in LN Spain History.

Chen Castaño: We continue to have great plans and expectations for the business we believe in. And we keep working hard!

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Live Nation Spain president and head promoter Robert Grima. (Picture by Alfredo Arias)

What recent and upcoming shows, concerts, and tours would you like to highlight?
Robert Grima: The biggest professional and personal highlight is the four Coldplay shows in Barcelona, which immediately sold out and where the demand was double than the number of tickets sold. Other great highlights are the Harry Styles and Beyoncé stadium shows, plus a stronger than ever Madonna, which sold out two shows in a day. The return of Blink 182, Muse performing in Santander, as well as concerts of young artists like Lewis Capaldi, and Louis Tomlinson are other highlights.

I would also like to point the solid return and healthy sweet spot of the local artists, with a 20-date arena tour with legendary Spanish band Hombres G or the tours of Beret, Rels B and Cruz Cafuné who are young artists that are growing really fast in our market and out of it.

Planet Events, Chen Castaño: Some tours for this year include Alejandro Fernández’s “Amor y Patria” tour in June and July, and the first Spanish tour of Mau y Ricky in September, who make urban pop from Venezuela. That’s in addition to other concerts and tours such as the Mexican Gloria Trevi, or concerts in cities like Fuengirola that work especially in summer, such as the Dominican legend Juan Luis Guerra, or the British UB40 and their reggae sound.

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Chen Castaño, MD at Planet Events.

After the summer, we will also organize concerts, especially in Madrid, such as the great Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso in September, or the power metal band WarCry in December, among others. In addition to this, we will be doing another year of big productions, such as the Spotify Equal Fest in September in Madrid, Spotify’s first live music concert as part of the brand’s initiative to promote gender equality in the industry; or the LOS40 Music Awards, the main music awards in Spain, to mention but a few. As you can see, although our main market is Latin music, we remain eclectic.

Barnaby Harrod: It’s shaping up to being a great year with over 100 shows all over Spain, from the 200-capacity Sala Clamores to the 16,000 capacity WiZink Center and everything in between!

Highlights include summer runs with legends such as Simply Red and UB40, sold out Ricky Gervais in Barcelona, The National in Madrid, and the first, very fast-selling shows for Hauser. As a teenage fan I went to see Elvis Costello in Newcastle, and now, many years later, we are promoting a three-day tour of Spain with him that includes Madrid as well as two shows at UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Alhambra Gardens in Granada, and the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, which is thrilling!

It’s been a record year for Live Nation in many territories. Does the same hold true for Spain?
Pino Sagliocco: The increase in box office receipts has been great to see as the Spanish public return to live music shows.

Barnaby Harrod
Barnaby Harrod, head promoter at Mercury Wheels.

Which cities aside from Barcelona and Madrid have the infrastructure to welcome big international tours? In other words: Spain is more than Madrid and Barcelona. Which cities prove that?
Barnaby Harrod: We have shows this year in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Aviles, Girona, Mallorca, Soria, Valencia, Murcia, Granada, Gijon, Santiago, Castellon, Leon, Fuengirola, Cadiz, Miranda del Ebro, Guadalajara, Valls, and more, which just goes to show how many attractive markets can be played in Spain!

Pino Sagliocco: Sevilla, where we have done stadium shows with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns N’ Roses in recent years. Malaga is also growing as a market. Valencia has just constructed a great new indoor arena that becomes operative next year.

Robert Grima: Spain is a great place for entertainment. Spanish people love going to concerts. And at the same time Spain is a great place for tourists to come to see concerts. The demand is growing, and regional governments and private investors are focused on new venues at different locations, like the Navarra Arena in Pamplona, and the new arena being built in Valencia, Pino mentioned.

Andalucía has proved to be a strong market with sell out concerts like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns N’ Roses, and has also seen the rise of new events and festivals. Other regions like Basque Country and Galicia are also showing a strong growth.

Red Hot Chili Peppers kicking off their stadium tour in Seville seems to speak volumes in that regard. Any other tours this year that exemplify how Spain has multiple attractive territories to tour in?
Pino Sagliocco: This year we have The Weeknd in stadiums in Madrid, and in Barcelona, as well as Guns N’ Roses in stadiums in Madrid, and in Vigo in Galicia.

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Pino Sagliocco, chairman, Live Nation Spain.

Robert Grima: There are many success stories, like last year Imagine Dragons playing Santiago de Compostela, Metallica in Bilbao, etc. It shows that the market is not just Madrid and Barcelona. This year Muse will arrive to Santander in the North of Spain to a sold out stadium show.

What’s the economic climate like? How are you coping with the massive price increases across the supply chain? And are there any indications that peoples’ spending power has been affected?
Pino Sagliocco: The market is showing a big upturn in consumption of entertainment, hotels and travel, restaurants, as well as concerts.

Robert Grima: It may surprise, but the demand for tickets is very strong, with most of the shows selling out. There are no signs that the interest in shows and entertainment will fade.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Opening Concert Of Their International Tour
More than 50,000 people enjoyed the opening night of Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Estadio de La Cartuja, in Seville, Spain, June 4, 2022. (Photo By Joaquin Corchero/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Any other after effects of either COVID, Brexit or the war in Eastern Europe that affect your business in Spain? When we spoke last year, you mentioned a review of agreements scheduled for September 2022 relating to Brexit. Has this yielded anything, is international touring affected?
Pino Sagliocco: The new system seems to work well, we are welcoming multiple British artists to Spain, such as Ricky Gervais, Muse, Lewis Capaldi, etc.

Anything you would like to add?
Pino Sagliocco: Live music is more alive than ever. As we look at our results and operating metrics there is a global demand for live events continues to reach new heights. Demand has been growing for a long time and is showing no signs of letting up.

Robert Grima: My view is that Spain is in a very sweet spot as it is a great country for music and entertainment. It’s not just that we have great local talent that is being exported worldwide during times when Spanish music is [extremely popular], but also that Spain is a great place to combine concerts with great gastronomy and weather: as a country we can offer the complete experience. And the market is expanding through our local and regional fans, but also with many international fans and travelers. The music business is having a great direct and indirect impact on the local economy, and I am so glad our business is getting better and bigger…

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